Do you live in a noisy are? Does being in a noisy place bother you? What do you do to escape noisy places? Are there any specific noises that annoy you? What noise do we have in cities? What kind of noise do cars make? What natural sound(s) do you like the most? Why?
  • To rumble (verb) - to make a continuous low sound.
  • To bark (verb) - (of a dog) to make a loud, rough noise.
  • To scream (verb) - to make a loud, high sound.
  • To blare(verb) - to make an unpleasantly loud noise.
  • Tolerance (noun) - willingness to accept behaviour and beliefs that are different from your own, although you might not agree with or approve of them.
  • Soundproofing (noun) - special material put in a room or building in order to prevent sound from passing out of or into it, or the act of putting in this material.
  • Persistent (adj.) - lasting for a long time or difficult to get rid of.
  • High-pitched (adj.) - a voice that is high-pitched is higher than usual.
  • To chatter away (phrasal verb) - to talk for a long time about things that are not important.
  • Siren (noun) - a device for making a loud warning noise.
  • Ignition (noun) - the act or process of something starting to burn.
  • To rev (verb) - to increase the speed of the engine of a vehicle while the vehicle is not moving.
  • To backfire (verb) - (of an engine) to make a loud noise as a result of fuel burning too early.
  • To unwind (verb) - to relax and allow your mind to be free from worry after a period of work or some other activity that has made you worried.
  • Murder of crows (noun) - a group of crows (= large black birds).
  • Wake-up call (noun) - If something that happens is a wake-up call, it should make you realize that you need to take action to change a situation.
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Questions and answers
M: Do you live in a noisy area?

R: Well, not really. I mean, we occasionally get trucks rumbling through the high street, and the neighbour's dogs bark occasionally. I think that's about the sum of it. We used to have planes screaming over the house. But, well, that doesn't happen so much these days.

M: Does being in a noisy place bother you?

R: Well, not really. Unless there's like music blaring and I can't even hear myself think, let alone have a conversation. I like to think I've got a pretty high tolerance for noise actually.

M: What do you do to escape noisy places?

R: Leave? I mean, sorry, honestly. I can't think of anything else. It's not like you can carry soundproofing around with you. Is it?

M: Are there any specific noises that annoy you?

R: I don't like screaming or any sort of persistent high-pitched noise. But I don't think that's unique to me, to be honest with you.

M: What noise do we have in cities?

R: Well, I already mentioned air and ground traffic. And I suppose you can hear people going about their business and chattering away. And I imagine you can sometimes hear sirens in the distance because there'll be more emergencies. I couldn't say any more, really, it's been a while since I've lived in a city.

M: What kind of noise do cars make?

R: Well, they make that sound when you turn the ignition. I think it's called the sound of the engine turning over. And then you can hear people's horns blaring. And you can rev your car. So that's like when you're gaining speed. You can gun the engine and the engine can backfire which some people think sounds like a gunshot. And then, of course, there's a sound of the air like rushing over the car when you have the windows down. So there's lots of noise that can be created by cars.

M: What natural sounds do you like?

R: Well, sounds that help you unwind or relax and decompress from a long day are quite nice. So things like whale song. And then, well, I suppose dolphin song by association. And it's quite nice as well, when you can see them as well, when you hear dogs barking and they're playing with each other. That's quite relaxing when they work in conjunction with each other. Oh, yeah, and waking up in the morning to bird song. That's great. We have a whole... I think, I guess it's a murder of crows that lives in the town where I live right now in the village. And every morning at like Sunrise, so roughly half past seven in the morning, you just hear all of these birds getting up and flying around and making all of this noise. And you would think that it would be quite disturbing but it's not actually. It's quite a pleasant wake-up call.
M: Hey, wow, Rory, so much noise. It's just...

R: It's ironic because I live in a very, well, quiet part of Scotland, I suppose.

M: In the middle of nowhere, it's called.

R: It's not the middle of nowhere. I live in Aberlour. It's a small village. It's only 1000 people but it's not the middle of nowhere. It's kind of the middle of nowhere.

M: So first of all noise. We make noise or noise could be created by somebody or something. So noise created by cars, for example. Also, what adjectives can we use with noise? We can say awful, horrible noise. We can say loud or deafening noise.

R: Blaring.

M: Blaring. What is it? Blaring noise.

R: It's just like loud and extended sound. It's like a horn, for example, or... Well, I think that's the best example, to be honest with you. But you can also have collocations to describe it as well. Like making a racket.

M: A racket like a racket? Ping pong racket?

R: Well, you use a bat for ping pong, don't you?

M: Oh, okay. Squash racket.

R: Okay, well, the spelling is the same. I guess. Racket.

M: So racket is a kind of a noise. Make a racket, make some noise, right?

R: Yes. A horrible noise. It's like all noises together. Like a chaos of noise.

M: You said that trucks rumbling. So I hear the trucks rumbling. I hear cats meowing. I hear birds singing. I hear trucks rumbling. Rumble is this kind of like what? Like a truck. Imagine a truck, like a huge car and it like rumbles. Also planes. What do planes do?

R: Well, they scream or roar overhead. I suppose.

M: Planes scream? Really? Like people?

R: Well, yeah, like the scream of a plane engine. Yeah, it's quite loud.
M: Wow. Interesting. Okay. So I hear or I could hear planes screaming over the house. So plane over the house screaming, making this noise.

R: I would like to point out, not directly over the house. I just live near an air base. So it's, you know, it's that kind of sound that you hear when planes go overhead high above.

M: When we talk about music, we can say that music is blaring. Right? And it's not quite good, right?

R: Well, no, it's not. It's... It's in your ears. You can feel it vibrate in your whole body. And of course, if that's happening, then you can't really talk to people, can't you? And that's really annoying. At least for me, it's annoying. I like talking to people.

M: There's music blaring. In this case, music is really loud and it's like deafening. You can't hear yourself even. Right? So I can't hear myself think, Rory said. So I can't hear my thinking. But Rory told us that I've got a pretty high tolerance for noise. To have a high tolerance for noise. So you take Rory, you put him in a room with blaring music, everybody's talking, screaming, you know, airplanes screaming as well. And Rory is fine. Rory is going to be like Buddha. Like...

R: Most of the time, yes. But not if I'm trying to talk to somebody, then I'll get really annoyed.

M: So you can say that I've got a pretty high tolerance for noise or I can't stand loud noise. Like I hate it. I just can't tolerate it. I can't stand it.

R: And I'd find it difficult to put up with. Ooh, it's a phrasal verb. And if you like phrasal verbs, check out our Podcourse. It's not just phrasal verbs. We're working on a new one. Spoiler alert.

M: You can escape noisy places. And Rory just said like leave. Well, you can leave, obviously, there is some noise and you just like leave to escape.

R: What else do people do? I guess they put in their earphones. But that doesn't really work. And you could talk about earplugs, too. But most people just go away from loud noises. It's not a difficult problem to solve.

M: Yes. Earplugs. So earplugs, these little thingies. Yeah? Earplugs that you kind of stuff them into your ear. Or you can invest in noise-cancelling headphones or earphones. Noise-cancelling earphones.
R: But how would that work? Like, look, when it's talking about what happens when there's loud noise. I mean, if you're trying to work then you have to work with people and you put these things in your ears. How are you supposed to work with people if you can't hear them? Like just type?

M: No, no, no. But if you just have to work and there is some noise. So how you can escape from this noise? You just like put on some noise-cancelling headphones and...

R: No, you, you throw a huff and you leave.

M: Like ha, you're too noisy.

R: That's how adults solve their problems.

M: Yeah, also, you can say, dear listener, oh, I wish I could turn off my ears. No, I wish I could. I wish I could is a nice structure. We're talking about an imaginary situation. I wish I could turn off my ears. Just like turn off your ears, so your ears don't work anymore. I wish I could turn off my ears. Or I wish I could turn off my eyes. Just like don't see this.

R: I don't want to look at you. I'm just going to turn off my vision.

M: Certain noises are annoying, like oh, it annoys me. It drives me up the wall. Like up the wall. Like it's like. I'm just... And Rory told us that high-pitched... High-pitched or high-pitch?

R: High pitched.

M: High-pitched noises, persistent high-pitched noises annoy him. So persistent is when it's like it's going and going like a mosquito. You know, mosquito is persistent. It's like... You just, you... What other noises annoy you? Dear listener, write in the comments. And we need specific vocabulary. Right? Like super specific. Like which particular noises annoy you? For example, construction noises, traffic noises, music blasting noises from clubs or bars. City noises. So, Rory, you told us ground and air traffic. Like ground traffic noises, like the cars and the buses and...

R: Lorries, trucks, transport. Any transport that involves like wheels, I suppose, or rails if you're... A train is a kind of ground transport.

M: Which phrasal verb did you use?

R: What phrasal verb did I use?

M: Chatter away.

R: Is that a phrasal verb?

M: It is.
R: Do you know what you should do if you like phrasal verbs? Link is in the description.

M: So chatter away. So we are chattering away. Chatter away. Like chat. Yeah? Chit-chat, like talk about it. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And sometimes you hear car sirens. But also, dear listener, you can talk about traffic sounds. You can talk about music which comes from loudspeakers. Noise from construction sites. Okay? Or heavy machinery. Yeah. What's heavy machinery, Rory?

R: Heavy machinery would be things like what you use to dig up the roads. So pneumatic drills. JCB's forklifts. Conveyor belts, as well, if you live near a factory.

M: Also you can mention some loud domestic machinery. Domestic like people use certain devices at home.

R: Oh, you mean like their appliances? Like washing machines and things?

M: Yeah, or lawnmowers.

R: If your washing machine is like really, really low, then you should probably get a new washing machine.

M: For example, frequently passing trains could create a lot of noise. So frequently passing trains. Or living close to a police station or to a hospital could also create a lot of noise and be quite annoying or frustrating.

R: Because you can hear the sirens. What's the siren's sound? Like again, I would just say like blaring sirens. Or wailing. Wailing sirens. Yes.

M: Like a whale?

R: No, like crying.

M: Oh...

R: Interestingly, though, siren is a... What would you say? It's a creature from Greek mythology. They lured sailors to their deaths with their singing.

M: Beautiful.

R: The singing was beautiful. I don't think the sirens were. I think they were hideous. But the sailors didn't find that out until they jumped out of the ship to go and find these what they thought were beautiful women.

M: When you turn the ignition.
R: Why don't we just have this in as sound included? I mean, when you turn the ignition, Vanya put in an ignition turning sound or we'll just stick a clip in here of an ignition being turned.

M: And then you hear the rev of the engine. So this is the sound. Rev of the engine.

R: I think it means revolution. Like things go around in the engine and you can hear that happening. I think. I don't know. I know nothing about cars. I just passed my driving test less than a month ago. What do I know about driving?

M: Congratulations! Rory can drive! Hey!

R: Yes. I can drive. There's a terrifying thought.

M: You can hear horns beeping. And horns blaring. So how do horns blare?

R: I don't know.

M: So mind the structure. I can hear horns beeping. I can hear dogs barking. Natural sounds. Unfortunately, we do have to use special words for sounds. Rory told us about whale songs. Okay, do you know how whales do? I can do the whale song. Okay, dear listener, you can do the whale together with me. Okay? So you should come from within, from within you. Okay? From your kind of belly. Collect your inner whale. Your whale inside you.

R: Collecting the inner whale.

M: Dear listener, come on, come on, come on. You're inner whale, from the depth, from the depth of somewhere.

R: Yes. This is great. All these people like sitting listening to us on the metro to work or the bus. And they're just like sitting there going. I'm a whale. This is professional.

M: Sorry. Sorry. This is us being us. So this is pretty much very natural for me. I do whale noises. I think all my friends heard my whale noises.

R: And now you have to.

M: So whale song. Dogs bark. We wake up to bird song. So Rory is sleeping there peacefully. Scotland freedom. And then he just wakes up to bird song and it's a pleasant wake-up call. Wake up call.

R: Well, I feel like that is not a natural wake-up call. That's more like a march.
M: And Rory, what did you say about like something murder. A murder of crows?

R: That's what you call a group of crows. A murder of crows. Yeah. There's a murder of crows that lives in the village and every morning they wake up and fly around and they have their birdsong. I think they're crows. Or we could just say like a flock of birds. Fine. A flock of birds but that's not band nine. A murder of crows is band nine vocabulary.

M: Dear listener, this is just crazy, like really crazy. A murder of crows.

R: But crows are associated with death. So it kind of makes sense.

M: Okay, nature sounds, dear listener, take a look. So I enjoy the buzz of a bee or I enjoy bees buzzing. So bees, what do they do? They buzz. Or for example, I like the roar of a tiger. Or for example, I like the sound of a stream passing over the stones. So river, stream, the sound of water passing over the stones. Or for example, you like the sound of the fire when the wood burns or the backing of a dog. You see, so like the sound is the barking of a dog. Or seagulls, you know, these white birds, seagulls. The flapping of a seagull. Or for example, you enjoy the thunder of a storm. The thunder. Or the mooing of a cow. Moo. Or the noise of the galloping horse.

R: Are we just gonna run through every single sound that animals make?

M: Why are you annoyed, Rory? Here, I'm giving super vocabulary and maybe our listener can choose, because here we do need specific names, so, you know... Dear listener, it's useful, right? Tell me in the comments it's useful.

R: Tell her in the comments it's not useful.

M: So Rory is annoyed now and now we have to finish.

R: Rory left the episode about five minutes ago and it's just been Maria making animal sounds.

M: Okay, like what didn't you like? You didn't like the mooing joke. The moo?

R: To be honest with you. It was when we, when we just started turning it into an episode about animal sounds was when I just lost the will to live.

M: Yeah, but that's the episode about noises.

R: Yes, but not animal noises.

M: What about pigeons? Pigeons.

R: We've already done this. Right. Okay. That's the end of the episode. It's the end of the episode. Bye, everyone! Have a nice time!

M: Bye!

R: Bye!
Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
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